Fishing or photographing ?

I sneaked off from work for a few hours late Friday afternoon, and although my feeling was that the water was going to be far too clear and settled (a week of NE winds, fairly obvious), I guess there is always a chance. OK, mid-March, low water temperature (but a warmer air temp), crystal clear, smallish tide, hardly ideal, but it's better to be out than be banging your head against the wall thinking about it. To be perfectly honest though, I had a feeling that the light was going to get really, really good as the sun went down, and I needed some specific photos for some features I am in the middle of writing........

I did fish for a while, but in reality I had photography on the brain as the light began to get good - much as a shot of a spinning reel is often just what it is, I love it when the light gets low and soft and you can use the angles of the rocks to cut the shadows and the actual light across something as inanimate as a reel (ok, so it's my beloved Stella 4000FD, but it's still just a reel) and make something far more creative out of it. I don't know if anybody saw me crouched down on the rocks concentrating intently on bits of gear, but if they had I am sure they would have wondered what on earth I was up to. It's easy to get lost in what you are doing when the quality of the light just gets better and better. Although I am a fishing junkie, I guess that photography gives me as much of a kick - a different kind of kick, but it gets me going in a big way.

OK, so the photo above is not much more than "lure sitting on rod handle", but it's the quality and the softness of the light that makes the already classic MegaBass Zonk 120 Gataride look as awesome as it does. Notice that there are no blown highlights off the flank of the lure, a problem that often arises when there is any kind of direct sunlight on a subject matter like this. I tend to travel quite "camera and lens light" when I am out fishing/photographing, much lighter than I would when out photographing only, and I don't have space for diffusers and things like that. Underexpose a bit to help retain the dark background and let the subject matter (the Gataride) stand out, get your own shadow out of the way, use that stunning light, compose, and snap away - and you thought it was just a photo of a killer lure !! OK, so it is.....

Tom asked what braid it was on my reel in the comments section of my last post (lure colours) - I picked this stuff up in a really good tackle shop in St. Malo before we got the ferry back to Jersey after the Nantes bass show. Some of the guys switched me on to it at the actual show itself, but I was managing to resist. Until I got in that shop !! If you have used true 8-strand braid for your lure fishing then you will know all about how good this kind of modern mainline is. Very different to your more "regular" 4-strand braid, but it tends to cost. For a long time now I have been using (and seriously loving) the grey 20lb Varivas Avani Sea Bass Max Power PE (see here) and I simply can't fault it.

But this multi-coloured braid on my Stella at the moment is the brand new Daiwa Tournament 8 Braid in 20lb breaking strain, and my initial impressions are that it is simply awesome (almost freaky thin, seriously, you can't believe this can be 20lb). I do like coloured lines, indeed I always have for various reasons, but it also comes in a straight green if that kind of thing freaks you out. I bought a 150 metre spool of this new 8-strand braid at that St. Malo shop for around 25 Euros I think it was, and that is seriously good value for money for a product like this. In the Daiwa France catalogue there are a big number of breaking strains and spool sizes available. I am not sure if anywhere in the UK is doing this braid yet, but I would hope that in due course that a modern 8-strand braid like this becomes available in shops and online in the UK. We shall see......

Thanks for such a good response via the comments to my last blog post about lure colours - I am not even remotely close to knowing that much about the success of different colours in different places and situations, but I am of the feeling (and in agreement with many of the comments) that the lure type and actual action are perhaps the most important things to consider (but note the word "perhaps"). Colour has to be of real importance, but I can't help but feel slightly that colour means more to us than it does to the fish. Or is that completely wrong ? Fishing is what it is, and we will simply never know all the answers - and I find that hugely reassuring in this day and age.